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Why Do Emerging Economies Borrow Short Term?

  • Fernando A. Broner
  • Guido Lorenzoni
  • Sergio L. Schmukler

We argue that emerging economies borrow short term due to the high risk premium charged by bondholders on long-term debt. First, we present a model where the debt maturity structure is the outcome of a risk sharing problem between the government and bondholders. By issuing long-term debt, the government lowers the probability of a rollover crisis, transferring risk to bondholders. In equilibrium, this risk is re‡ected in a higher risk premium and borrowing cost. Therefore, the government faces a trade-o¤ between safer long-term debt and cheaper short-term debt. Second, we construct a new database of sovereign bond prices and issuance. We show that emerging economies pay a positive term premium (a higher risk premium on long-term bonds than on short-term bonds). During crises, the term premium increases, with issuance shifting towards shorter maturities. The evidence suggests that investor risk aversion is important to understand the debt structure in emerging economies

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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 11 (2013)
Issue (Month): (01)
Pages: 67-100

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:11:y:2013:i::p:67-100
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